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Accessing Needs

Lisa Gilman

As is evident from all the people profiled on this website, there is lots of activity, talent, creavity, and energy in the camp.

The World Food Program and other international entities provide minimal food and support to camp residents, but the resources provided are not adequate for residents to feed, clothe, pay for school fees, or otherwise live and stay healthy.

Though the Malawian government restricts residents from legally working in the country, those with adequate resources are allowed to engage in business inside the camp.

The camp is a lively town full of small shops, markets, and businesses, allowing camp residents to meet their basic needs, though most struggle to do so.

Vendors at markets sell vegetables, meats, grains, drinks and used clothing. The vendors are both refugees and Malawians who come to the camp to sell goods. Some camp residents have small businesses that sell cooked foods, drinks, grocery supplies, hair supplies, cloth, clothing, craHs, furniture, paper, pens, and all sorts of other goods. They also have businesses offering services, such as hair dressing, tailoring, phone charging, computer repair, furniture building, and brick-making.

Because of the lack of opportunity and resources, everyone in the camp is involved is doing what they can to get by. People make money doing all sorts of things, for example, engaging in piecework, renting out rooms in their homes, taking care of children, washing people’s clothes, renting out time on their computers, and so many more.

Camp residents have also been active creating non-governmental organizations (NGOs/non- profits) where they offer such things as education, computer literacy, occupational, and arts training. There are also lots of volunteer organizations where camp residents provide help or services for others, including food, transportation, arts training, childcare, and so forth.

Teams of dancer, athletes, musicians, and poets get together regularly to practice and participate in these activities.

Faith-based organizations are very active across Christian dominations in the camp, and camp residents serve as the founders and leaders or many of these association. There are currently a few mosques. When there have been greater populations of Muslims, for example Somalians, mosques have been more numerous and active.